Indira Ahluwalia is a 1990 graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, who then went on to receive her Master's in International Relations from the University of Chicago. In 2002 she founded Development & Training Services, Inc., an international development firm that has provided expertise in 90 countries in gender and social inclusion, program monitoring and evaluation, and training and capacity building across multiple sectors, including "climate change, natural resource management, water, energy, agriculture, economic growth, civil society development, counter terrorism, counter violent extremism, governance, education, and health." Indira served as President of dTS until July 2015, when she facilitated the acquisition of dTS by Palladium which provides services international development and strategy execution. In addition to serving as a Senior Advisor at Palladium, Indira sits on the Board of the Directors of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
What do you enjoy about the work that you do?
I really enjoy being with the people. My job relates to interacting with people, and looking at how to create solutions that work both for the individual and the system in international development and at the corporate level. The energy that I get from understanding how to make things better is very exciting for me.
How did your degree in the BA program in Psychology prepare you for what you're doing now?
Mason was very instrumental in creating a foundation for me. I had been in this country for two years before I had started my undergraduate work at George Mason. The Psychology program provided me with both theory and practicums. I spent a lot of time with professors getting to understand the workings of the subject matter, but also of life in general. I enjoyed being an advocate for multiculturalism and international students at George Mason, and that provided me a different type of education, both of which have stood me in good stead. I am most grateful and humbled by the recognition from the University.
What advice would you give to current students about developing their careers?
You know, I always say a job is very different from a career. A job helps you pay the rent, and one should never forget the value of paying the rent, and standing on your own two feet, and thus building your education to allow you to get a job. A job, however, leads to a career in my mind. A career is where you fulfill your passion. I don't think you lose your passion when you're doing your job, instead you build on it while paying the rent. It's about building a balance between your passion and your sustainability.